It was an evening full of promise. The sun had set long before and we were on our way back to Leiden after a quick Amsterdam jaunt. Traffic was heavy but predictable, and we both had high hopes of making it back in time to visit a furniture store before its closing time.
Then something strange happened. GPS told us that the A4 motorway was closed. Closed? I muttered my confusion and then watched the brake lights illuminate the dark pavement ahead. Soon, all five lanes were stopped. Damn. Must be an accident. Should be cleared up soon, we agreed. We'd be on our way by six at the latest. I proceeded to pass the time with some paperwork while Mr. Q alternated between turning the engine off, playing with his iPod, and napping.
Soon (well, after an hour or so) it became clear that we weren't making the furniture run. 7:15 became 7:30, then 8pm approached. Turns out they had shut down all lanes of traffic and didn't seem to have an alternative plan for the stranded. I had long finished any form of diversion and then the inevitable happened: My bladder began to complain.
Irritated, I tried to ignore the curse of liquid consumption, but it persisted. Must have been that latte at the Villa ArenA a few hours ago. I reclined in my seat and conjured up relaxed images and attempted yoga breathing, but to no avail. I was getting desperate.
It was after eight. Being in the far left lane, we began to assess the possibilities of getting out of the car and using the guardrail as a shield against 10,000 Dutchmen laughing as they watched me do my business. No, thank you. No bottles were in sight, and the only plastic bags were too flimsy to risk it - neither of us was keen on having the car tarnished forever because of one crazy moment.
I finally hit complete and total desperation. Mr. Q. gallantly swerved across five lanes of stopped traffic, drove onto the emergency lane and came to rest near a multitude of other parked cars. Anarchy had begun, and as far as the eye could see men were relieving themselves along the motorway. Determined to represent my gender, I jumped from the car and crossed a small fence before finding relative solitude from the waiting motorists. My moment of relief had come.
I've counted roses, breathless kisses and getaways among my most romantic experiences, but what truly takes the cake was having Mr. Q. wrap my coat firmly around my face to prevent identification and stand stoically by as I did my duty.